To reduce the stress you would feel when cleaning your groundsheet, try as much as possible to avoid dirt from accumulating on it. When your camping trip is over, you should clean your groundsheet. Luckily, it is easier to clean a groundsheet than to clean the normal floor of a tent.
The best way to clean a groundsheet is to clean off any dried-on dirt with a bristle brush, then wipe it down with a mild soap and sponge and wash off with a hose pipe. It is best to clean your groundsheet on an area that won’t attract any more dirt such as a patio area or table.
In this article we are going to run through the different pieces of equipment you will need to clean a groundsheet and the best way to clean it and keep it clean.
What to Use to Clean A Ground Sheet
We found that using household cleaning supplies such as cloths, scrubbing brushes and brustle brushes worked really well and even washing up liquid. Make sure you stay away from harsher chemicals and sharp tools as these can cause the groundsheet to rip and get damaged.
Get all the tools you need and follow the steps below. The tools should include, but is not limited to:
- a scrubbing brush,
- mild soap,
- water hose,
- rubber gloves,
- groundsheet pegs
How To Clean A Ground Sheet
There are a number of ways in which you can clean a ground sheet but while you do this you want to make sure you are keeping the other side clean at the same time. Everyone has their own way of cleaning a ground sheet and some will work better than others. Here are a few ways in which you can clean your ground sheet.
Peg in Place
Before you start cleaning, you have to peg the groundsheet down to ensure it stays in place throughout the whole process. Get some groundsheet pegs from the store and carefully peg the groundsheet to the ground – preferably outside because of all the water that will be used during the cleaning process. The pegs should be pushed into the ground at an angle away from the groundsheet and the bent part facing outwards. Fixing it this way adds more resistance against any sudden movements and reduces the chances that the peg would detach from the ground on its own.
Bring extra pegs with you because the campground might be hard, and some pegs might get bent out of shape while being hammered in place. After pegging the groundsheet, gently confirm with your hands if the pegs have secured it in place. Please do not use your foot for this because it could pierce your feet by mistake. Lastly, have a peg puller handy in case you accidentally hammer a peg too far into the ground.
Sweep and Clean Off Dirt
This is where the actual cleaning starts. The leftover dirt on the equipment has to be removed before it can be packed up. So, get a broom and sweep the groundsheet thoroughly to remove the loose dust and get as much dirt as possible off it. There might be stubborn dirt, but cold water and a soft sponge should take care of that. Do not use regular dish soap here; scrub with water and a sponge or a scrubbing brush because it might be too harsh and damage the fabric.
Mop Up the Excess Water
After scrubbing the groundsheet, you can mop the excess water. It will be easy to do since the groundsheet has been laid out flat and pegged down. Groundsheets are usually waterproof, so the mop would slide easily on top of it, mopping up the water.
Hand Wash the Groundsheet
Grab your soap solution and put some in your spray bottle. Spray the soap solution evenly across the groundsheet’s surface and run it around with a scrubbing brush or sponge and focus on the areas with tough stains.
Please do not use too much force or use strong detergent to handwash the equipment because it can be destroyed or lose its waterproof properties. After scrubbing, rinse with water from a water hose, but the spray should be gentle and have the same pressure as rainfall. Use a rag or sponge to help with the rinsing.
Clean One Side at A Time
After cleaning the side of the groundsheet that has been facing upwards all this time, it will be time to clean the other side. Unpeg the equipment, gently flip it on its side, and repeat the cleaning process until the groundsheet is sufficiently clean. If you are not satisfied with how it turns out after rinsing, you would need to soak the groundsheet in hot water and rewash later.
Be sure to clean the groundsheet often to avoid dirt accumulation and permanent stains. This does not mean cleaning it every day but makes sure it is done after every camping trip. If you camp in an environment with salt water, make sure you hand wash the groundsheet during the camping trip to get the salt off. Apply this same rule to when you camp in muddy areas too.
Dry on Washing Line
When satisfied with the cleaning job, you have to air dry the equipment till every bit of moisture leaves before putting it away. If you store a groundsheet while it is still wet, it will encourage mold and mildew growth, which are much tougher to clean off. The dampness would also create an odour that you will not like, denying you a pleasant camping experience next time out. For the best results, dry each side of the groundsheet on a washing line to get direct sunlight exposure for at least three hours before storage. If it is raining, hang it in an enclosed space until the weather is sunny again.
Properly storing a groundsheet is equally as crucial as drying it, so take necessary precautions. Make sure the storage place is not wet or humid because if it is, all the hours spent drying the equipment would be wasted. You can put the groundsheet in a cupboard or under your bed. It is preferable to put it in a large container with a lid so the equipment would breathe the whole time it is unused. If kept inside the plastic bag it came with, it would be cooped up, and this is not ideal for long-term storage.
What Chemicals Are Harmful to Ground Sheets?
Of all regular cleaning products, strong detergents are the worst for your groundsheets. They break down the fabric used to make it and eliminate its waterproof properties and resistance to ultraviolet light.
Also, bleach is harmful because it also deteriorates the fabric and might permanently change its color. Additionally, as silly as it might sound, water is not good for groundsheets. It can be fine to have water on it in the short-term, but mold and mildew will form on the equipment if the moisture is not removed quickly.
Should I Clean A Groundsheet on Both Sides?
To go straight to the point, yes, you should clean both sides of the groundsheet because you want to get the dirt from the ground off the bottom of the groundsheet. At the same time, the dirt from under your feet that must have collected on top of the groundsheet needs to be cleaned off.